What’s the Story?



Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up
Well, what’s the story morning glory?
Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up.

We have been bad…very bad. For the last week or two, no healthy eating for us, just lots over indulgence and a degree of junk. We are feeling the worse for it and so something colourful and some seafood has become a necessity.

There is a feel good factor for me, in eating seafood in it’s high season and when it is sustainable.For a busy weekday supper, these Scottish smoked mackerel fillets are such a great,tasty option.

My thoughts drift across the channel….

IMG_2826One of the things French restaurants have always done so well, in my opinion, is the main course salad. On brasserie menus there are often  3 or 4 salads (that I’ve seen people mistakenly order expecting some kind of starter, only to be confronted by a large and hearty dish!).

So our Monday supper has evolved from those thoughts…Some smoked mackerel fillets from a supermarket pack, an apple that will give a nice acidic crunch against the richness of the mackerel. A handful of watercress, some sweet potatoes and beetroot, red cabbage and an onion, a few green beans – because it would be rude not to and some kind of dressing. Let’s go.IMG_2816

This dish will take as long to throw together as it takes to cook the spuds and has all the goodness and colour I am craving today and will allow me to go out and complete my ‘things to do’ list.

I’ve slow roasted some tomatoes, because the ones I have are past their best for eating raw but will roast up well. Fresh, will also work well.

There is a particular salad that is of our region in France – Salade de pays de Gascogne or something. It’s peppered with ‘gesier’ an unusual ingredient over in the UK I think (gizzard) they are cured and not really my cup of tea. I say this because a few years back we were in France for a special birthday of mine and we went to eat at the Ferme Auberge. We were with old friends, Hugger and Kisser, etc.IMG_2829

These establishments are fab and if you ever get the chance, or see a roadside sign indicating one when in France, don’t hesitate to go inside. They are working farms in which the owners have a little restaurant. Clearly defined rules abide, one of which is the requirement for the main ingredients to have come from their farm.Often a set menu, the income helps the farmers stay viable financially as well as show casing their delicious produce without the bureaucracy that prevails in opening a fully fledged restaurant. The one we went to featured the local salad and I think that the need to explain to others what it was caused me to look up what gesier were….!

We had a delicious home cooked chicken, and one of my death bed dessert (Ile Flottante) and a really great time. Yet again, it was the midst of a rugby tournament. I think it was the world cup…yes it was. France were playing and we needed them to win to avoid a more scary opponent for our native England, the name of which who escape memory.

Long stories and plenty of wine later we ended up in the owners’ living room along with his friend, watching the game and cheering hard. I would have cheered for France anyway (unless against England of course) but our hosts realised why we were so keen for France to win and the owners friend didn’t seem all that pleased with us…..Back to the tale.IMG_2821

This happy and gloriously free Monday (in that I don’t have to go to work – but I have other duties yet to do) I have cranked up the music, and wondered what tale to tell today, I asked myself “what’s the story” and now I have oasis blaring out while I write, so many great times with this album as the backdrop – but those are tales for other days.

Here is a potted and slightly random description of what I assembled for this salad.

Thinly slice the red cabbage and onion and dowse with lemon juice a touch of oil and some salt then set it aside to pickle for 10 minutes.IMG_2819

Cook some small chunks of sweet potato and when still warm add some small beetroot pieces, a spoonful of horseradish sauce and a little plain yoghurt – just enough to coat them.

Make a quick dressing.– I used 1 part cider vinegar and 3 parts grape seed oil plus some seasoning.

Dress the watercress, mackerel and beans with the quick dressing and then arrange everything onto your plate, topping off with the eggs and a sprinkling of dill. OR any combination that works for you…the mackerel can be the star! This is a hearty winter dish,in which it’s best to serve mostly at room temperature perhaps with the potatoes and tomatoes still warm.

What’s the story morning glory?
Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up
Well, what’s the story morning glory?
Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up.




2 thoughts on “What’s the Story?”

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